From Chaos to Clarity: A Notion Template for Building Your Business
Building a startup is not easy and requires a ton of resources.
At Carted we’re intentional about documenting important information from the beginning.
With team members across different time zones and WFH schedules, asynchronous communication becomes the glue that holds us together. This calls for a solid wiki that allows us to produce written trails of our processes.
My recent post on LinkedIn gained incredible interest when I mentioned I wanted to open-source what we had done so that other founders didn’t have to spend valuable time redoing the same work.
So here it is. I have made a copy of our internal company wiki. Click it, copy it, paste it and make it your own. I’m keen to see what you create!
I’ve included brief descriptions of each section below to help you as you explore.
Notion vs Google Drive
The use case for Notion versus Google Drive is a hot topic. At Carted, we have put some key guidelines in place so the team can choose the right tool for the right situation.
Notion is evergreen and outlines the way we do things, often via ‘guiding principles’. Notion is completely asynchronous, and if well-maintained, can be useful forever.
On the other hand, Google Drive is used to keep documents for technical designs, analysis, project initiations, or other artefacts of daily work. They may be referenced many years after they were created but usually represent a snapshot in time.
Tip: Include the names of team members involved in the document and dates at the top of every Google Doc help to capture context.
As an example, imagine that you’re writing up a sales process that’s tailored to a particular customer segment. This is a resource that will help to onboard new staff as well as share context with the existing team, and is intended to remain relevant over time — it belongs in Notion.
The application of that process to a particular sales opportunity may result in the creation of several additional forms and templates — perhaps a scoping document, or a set of questions for gathering feedback. These are inherently single-use and tied to a customer at a specific point in time. They belong in Google Drive.
Ways of Working
In addition to how we use Google Drive versus Notion, our ways of working include recurring meetings, meeting-free days, and Slack communications.
As you can imagine, scheduling company-wide meetings across five different time zones is no easy feat. We maintain two weekly meetings that are scheduled within the most common time zone overlap, and which are also recorded for team members who are unable to join live.
The first of these is our weekly team check-in that’s used as a status update on key initiatives. The second alternates between a show-and-tell demo session and a product roundtable. This allows team members the opportunity to share what they have been working on, and to brainstorm ideas with one another.
By mid-week, the team has had the opportunity to settle into their respective workflows.
For that reason, we reserve Wednesdays for deep work without interruptions. This helps to reduce distractions that may otherwise ruin the flow.
When it comes to Slack, the most important rule is to create visibility across all projects through the use of channels, where discussions are held openly and side conversations are avoided.
This is an overview of the company. It should cover your mission, vision, values, team directory, press articles, history of the business, any office information and the company’s social handles so the team can keep up with what is happening.
Intentional culture is no accident. We clearly define what makes our company unique, and helps to build a cohesive team vision about what we’re working towards. That’s why we placed the company mission, vision, and values front and centre of our wiki. We originally created our values together at our first company offsite.
Our team directory is more of a ‘get to know your teammate’. It isn’t just a name, role and contact details. We cover all sorts of questions including role, location, how one likes to give and receive feedback, quirks, personality type and fun facts. This allows everyone in the team to really get to know one another and cover the gaps that would normally be filled in by sharing a desk or having a hallway conversation.
Take a look at the template, and start creating your own team directory.
The individual team pages provide a snapshot of key information related to that particular function of the business. It aggregates links from different tools that would otherwise sit in silos.
For example, our Product & Design page links out to folders stored in Drive, our roadmap in Jira, and retros in Miro.
Similarly, our People & Culture page outlines everything the team needs to know from onboarding to policies, to benefits, and talent acquisition. This will probably be one of your biggest sections as these resources are relevant to everyone in the company.
Keeping your wiki up to date
It should be everyone’s responsibility to update the company wiki, otherwise information isn’t fresh. It’s crucial to have an undisputed source of truth for both new and existing team members. Even more so if your team works in an asynchronous environment like we do.
I hope by opening up our wiki and sharing, you can save time and focus on your team and customers. I look forward to seeing what you create.
Keep shipping awesome products! 🚀